Restoration work begins at Spooners Cotton Ginnery in Cayon
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Restoration work has begun on the Cotton Ginnery in Spooners, Cayon, St. Kitts, thanks to a sizable grant of just more than $EC160,000 from the United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation through the U.S. Embassy in Barbados to the St. Christopher National Trust.
At a brief ground-breaking ceremony June 7, Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Barbados James Rodriguez expressed his pleasure in being a part of procuring the grant for phase one of the project.
“I am glad people had the foresight to look at this and want to restore it,” he said. “I think in a lot of places, the past isn’t appreciated as it should be and this is a very important part of the history of this island. I am so happy that you took the time to make the application to the ambassador for cultural preservation.” He explained that the cultural preservation programme started in 2001 and has already funded projects in approximately 100 countries, which now includes St. Kitts.
President of the St. Christopher National Trust Schneidman Warner said the initiative to preserve the ginnery was a collaborative effort between organizations such as UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the OAS (Organization of American States), and, most recently, the U.S. Embassy. He also thanked the embassy for its gracious donation to kick-start the project.
“We thought we should have the opportunity to give visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis the chance to see what we did in our proud past,” Warner said. “We are immensely grateful to the United States for what we can call a start-up grant that they afforded us.”
He explained that the ginnery produced a number of products when it was operational up until the 1970s, including soap, cotton, cooking oil and animal feed. He said that the site will bring much needed employment for the residents in the Cayon community as well as allow past workers to bring their families to show them what they had done in the past.
“We know that it will provide work for the people of Cayon and that is one of the very important parts of this development,” Warner added. “Spooners Ginnery is part of one of the few still practical aspects of our industrial past that we have.”
The restoration project on the 1.8 acre property is set to develop the site into a cotton museum that houses restaurants and retail artisan shops, making it a unique tourism and heritage attraction. The design and layout are intended to preserve the sites existing structure as much as possible, as well as the construction of several new structures on the grounds. The sites of development on the property will include the ginnery, the great house, the manager’s house and the overall grounds.